The client
A private student loan company with about $400 million in loans assets. It has been operating for two years and in the next year expects to grow to $1 billion in funds distributed.

The challenge
As a startup, the company sought help in developing a short- and mid-term BI strategy for their information management. This included data warehousing, BI software product adoption, IT resource staffing and solution deployment.

Reporting had been based on spreadsheet software. In a company of less than 100 employees, three disconnected BI efforts were in place, and their system suffered from a series of problems:

  • Conflicting reports eroded confidence in the usefulness of the information
  • Competitive data and confidential information was accessible to too many people
  • The entire process required a high degree of manual intervention

 

As the company grows, they want to be prepared to handle more data sources and more data volume.

They’ll also want to answer more complex questions. For instance, they’ll want to know how loan assets are performing, what credit tiers are in their portfolio, how loans are being paid back, the delinquency and index for each population of credit score and other information.

They will eventually have their own call center to service loans. Then data such as average handle time, abandonment and call arrival patterns will be necessary to help them manage their workforce and call quality.

What WCI did
In order to catalog the relationship between the data and the decision-making process, we performed a thorough audit. Our resulting BI strategy document and executive presentation addressed solutions around data warehousing, IT staffing, systems integration, reporting and dashboard deployment. We also developed preliminary designs and implementation plans.

As a result, WCI performed the following:

  • Deployed an enterprise Business Intelligence platform to more than 25 end users
  • Provided expertise in data security policy and secure system implementation
  • Trained and coached the IT staff in report and dashboard development

 

For 4 months WCI stayed in contact with the CIO and attended the company’s internal meetings to ensure that the new strategy was compatible with their business plan. Such close involvement continues to this day.

The company’s goal is to become self-sufficient. An internal reporting department will administer the new system and create reports and dashboards for power users, while stakeholder departments will create their own reports. These include marketing, product development, finance, credit management, sales, business development, operations and client relations departments.

Scope of solution
One WCI consultant worked 120 days on site to formulate the BI strategy, and then, over the next four months, assisted in implementing the first phase initiatives.

To date, WCI has served their IT, Finance, Sales, Operations (Client Relations), Operations (Call Center), Marketing (Product development), Marketing (General), and Credit departments.

The technologies used were SQL Server 2005 Integration Services (SSIS) and SQL Server DTS.

Full suite of Dashboard, Business Intelligence and reporting technologies utilized.

The application, backoffice and related technology was Embarcadero ER/Studio.

The results
Improvements increased visibility into processes. Key wins as a result of this visibility:

  • Based on data from this system, one change in procedures resulted in a 15% improvement in the rate of conversion in online (direct) channel.
  • The client attracted more borrowers by promising applicants increased access to information about the status of their loans.

The tools eliminated inconsistent and invalid data from the reporting process, reducing confusion and improving decision insight.

Sizeable resources were also reclaimed when employees tasked with reporting shifted their focus from producing data back to analyzing it.

Adding full BI infrastructure and development resource staff resulted in a self-sufficient reporting and information operation. Definitions of data were mooted, and process over effective dialogue around metadata was implemented.

Corporate dashboards transformed the company from a ‘push’ information methodology to an on-demand environment, delivering the most up-to-date information to the right people as they need it